Felix

340 W Broadway New York, NY 10013(212) 431-0021felixnyc.com/soho

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The fact that even a Yelp Elite would dock two stars just because the place only excepts cash or American Express is everything wrong with Yelp in one sentence. And while I am technically friends with said “Elitist,” they should be boiled in oil for such shenanigans, the very same “crack oil” they use on their French fries, which she swoons about in the very same review. In fact, she gave nothing but rave reviews about the food across the board and then coughed up an anemic two star rating. Not cool.

What’s also not cool is that places like Pastis (RIP), Morandi and Balthazar all get crazy over-inflated praise only to fall miserably short, whereas Felix actually manages to deliver where it counts, on the plate. I mean, who gives two shits that Mario Batali or Woody Allen eat there? Last I checked you can’t eat them Hannibal!

But even beyond the food, the are so many other things to love about Felix. First, I much prefer the more intimate-sized dining room, not to mention the amazing sun-lit corner location, especially in the summer, when they open up the glass sides and it’s like you’re sitting outside even when you’re inside. It’s the closest thing to a real Parisian Bistro in Manhattan, if you ask me. And with all of the shoppers strutting up and down West Broadway, the people watching is bar none.

As for the food, I’ve never had a bad meal, but the things I love the most are the eggs. They do such an amazing job with everything from omelets to benny, and as noted above, the fries on the side are pretty killer too, in both the slang and literal sense. Lunch is also pretty money, but I’ve actually never had dinner here. Not sure why, especially after seeing that picture above. Mmmm….

4 teeth

The Carlton Restaurant

InterContinental Carlton Hotel • 58 bd de la Croisette 06400 Cannes, FR+33 4 93 06 40 06 • http://www.intercontinental-carlton-cannes.com/en/your-stay-in-cannes/carlton-restaurant/

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The best part about the Carlton is that it’s the Carlton. So centrally located on the Croisette it’s the true focal point of Cannes, perhaps even more so than the Palais itself. And with its stunning regal architecture  (pictured) you just can’t help but swoon over the outdoor patio setting, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean.

But then the servers show up, or not as is often the case, and just like that, the glow starting quickly slipping away. Well, not that quickly I suppose, because it can easily take 30 to 40 minutes before they even notice you’ve been seated. On the plus side, they are friendly, but I’m guessing those smiles are more because they know they are about to bend you over a chair and wallet rape you. Yes, the Carlton is crazy pricey and the food is crazy not worth it. For example, 39 Euros for a lobster BLT that tasted like it came out of vending machine. My advice, stick to using it as a bar only and you’ll be happy.

But, if people watching is your thing, or networking, or being seen, then pull up a table, someone with be right with you… in half an hour or so.

2 teeth

Makoto

9700 Collins Ave. Bal Harbour, FL 33154 • (305) 864-8600 makoto-restaurant.com

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It’s rare for mall food to surprise and delight, but then again, it’s pretty rare for a mall to have the flagship restaurant of Morimoto’s former sous chef. Also, to be fair, we aren’t exactly talking about your Gap, Banana and J. Crew kind of mall. It’s more like Bottega Veneta, Moncler and Chanel. Which makes for some nice opulent people-watching.

But don’t get scared off by the price tag just yet, because Makoto is probably the most affordable thing in the place. And while the cost of the food is reasonable, the restaurant itself is priceless. Easily among the top three Japanese meals I’ve ever had.

Here’s why. Every single dish was presented and tasted like a work of art. The kobe carpaccio with jicama melted in your mouth. The ceviche with watermelon ice and wasabi peas was the most inventive ceviche I’ve ever laid lips on. Even the Japanzanella salad was the most interesting panzanella salad I’ve ever had, made with flash fried cubes of rice as the croutons.

And while it’s hard to say any one dish was my favorite, because everything was so tremendous, the short rib noodles were my favorite. Served with a healthy dose of raw red cabbage on top to give it crunch, the contrast of flavors and textures with the buttery soft meat and noodles was simply a stroke of genius. And speaking of strokes, if I keep eating this way I’m probably going to have one, so stay tuned for a few healthy reviews in the near future.

As for now, however, let’s talk about volcano cakes. Not necessarily an ultimate per se, but a damn fine showing. Filled with a layer of crème anglaise, because why not? And placed next to a dome of vanilla ice cream topped with wafer cookies sprinkles because regular sprinkles are obviously for philistines.

5 teeth

Yuca

501 Lincoln Rd • Miami Beach, FL 33139 • (305) 532-9822 • yuca.com

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Yuca is Yucko. And I find it egregious that a New York Magazine article actually recommend this tourist trap, deeming it great for people watching, or as I would more accurately describe it, rubber-necking, because it’s like a parade of fashion train wrecks marching by. So, for a minute let’s just indulge the entertainment value of the passersby and maybe that gets you to one knife, but once the novelty of watching cows strut past in fishnets and neon thongs you eventually turn your attention to the plate, and that’s when the seven car pile up really gets going.

For example, the habanero guacamole was overly pureed and under spicy, served with unsweetened plantain chips that tasted like balsa wood. Such a simple dish, yet they managed to fuck it up three times over.

Another simple dish, and tapas favorite, turned to trash were the bacon wrapped dates. So dry, the Sahara is suing for copyright infringement. If you want to try a nailed version of the same, go to Boqueria in New York.

Even the empanadas were emperfect. Once again, too dry and lacking any sort of complexity of flavor. In fact, the only thing we had that night worth chewing was the plantain crusted mahi mahi served with sweet plantain mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. Yet again the fish was dry, but the other flavors kept it interesting enough to actually eat.

Then, once again it was back to shitsville as the chocolate tres leche with homemade chocolate ice cream hit the table. It was so bad we left more than half of it stranded on the plate. And the other half I wish I could’ve given to a homeless person on the way back to the hotel, but that would’ve been too cruel.

1 tooth

Cafe Du Monde

French Market 800 Decatur St. New Orleans, LA 70116(504) 525-4544cafedumonde.com

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If you’re visiting New Orleans, it’s almost sacrilege not to visit the legendary Cafe Du Monde. But in all fairness, this legend is not the end all be all of fried dough. In fact, I’m not sure it would even crack my top five beignets. And let’s be honest shall we, beignet is basically French for “funnel cake.” I mean, who are we kidding? And at the end of the day it’s not like fried dough with powdered sugar on it is never going to suck, so it really becomes shades of decadence.

But all caveats aside, they quite good. And quite enormous as beignets go. One order should easily be enough to satiate two ravenous beignet cravings, or four modest ones.

As for the venue itself, the fact that it’s right on the water is nice. And because it’s such an attraction, the people watching is prime. Sadly, most of those people tend to be the ones you don’t really want to watch.

3 teeth